As the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting all USA Softball National Team Programs as they compete in international and domestic competition. With nine teams spread across four programs, Team USA athletes range from the U-15 age group to the slow pitch division to the Olympic level of competition.
Host a USA Softball National Team – Bring a USA Softball National Team to your city!
The USA Softball National Teams often play exhibition games leading into their event schedule. If you are interested in hosting a site, please contact your local commissioner.
Beginning in the 1960s, the USA Softball (formerly ASA) National Teams were represented on the international stage by champions of the Men’s and Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championships.
The Raybestos Brakettes were the first-ever softball team to represent the U.S. Women’s National Team as the legendary squad earned its spot in the inaugural World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Championship in 1965 after winning the Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship the year before. The Brakettes captured the silver medal with a record of 8-3, but it was what they did following the World Championships that helped grow the sport internationally.
The Brakettes then embarked on a whirlwind tour that covered 10 countries in 37 days, where the players and coaches worked as ambassadors of the game, holding instructional clinics in hopes of spreading the sport of softball across the globe.
USA Softball sent its first Men’s National Team to a World Championship in 1966 as the WBSC hosted its inaugural Men’s Fast Pitch Championship in Mexico City, Mexico. The Sealmasters of Aurora, III. – who won the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship in 1966 to earn the right to represent the United States – captured the first-ever gold medal for the U.S. in any fast pitch World Championship with a perfect 11-0 record.
The organization then joined the ranks of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) after being named the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of softball in 1978 – a feat that elevated USA Softball as the only softball organization with the opportunity to field an Olympic softball team.
In 1986, USA Softball transitioned to an All-Star format that allowed National Teams to add three additional players to their rosters that did not compete in USA Softball National Championships. This change proved to be successful for the United States as the Raybestos Brakettes captured the 1986 WBSC Women’s World Championship with a perfect 13-0 record.
By 1990, USA Softball had fully joined most other countries in selecting an entire All-Star team to represent the United States in World Championship competition.
On June 13, 1991, shock waves were sent through the softball community as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the inclusion of the sport to the Olympic program at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. This announcement meant the sport of softball would finally be showcased to the world on the biggest stage.
To prepare for softball’s inaugural appearance in the Olympic Games, USA Softball established a national coaching pool and a National Team Selection Committee. This committee was charged with the difficult and sometimes unpopular task of making the final cuts for the team that would represent Team USA at every international competition leading up to the Olympic Games and ultimately deciding who would be named to the final Olympic roster.
The concept worked to perfection as the United States captured the first ever Olympic gold medal for the sport of softball with a 3-0 win over China in the finals of the 1996 Olympics. From there, the U.S. would go on to win the next two Olympic gold medals (2000, 2004) while claiming an Olympic silver medal in 2008.
2000 & beyond
In 2006, during the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, the sport of softball was dealt a huge disappointment as the IOC voted to remove the sport of softball and baseball from the Olympic program in 2012. This decision was a shock to the softball community worldwide. The shock was felt again in 2009 when the IOC upheld their decision to exclude softball from the 2016 games as well. The fate of Olympic Softball was again in the hands of the IOC in September of 2013, when they would vote whether to reinstate the sport for the 2020 Games. The IOC upheld their decision again in 2013, but hope was not lost as Tokyo, Japan (a country that thrives with softball and baseball) was selected to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
The hopes and dreams of millions of softball athletes and fans around the globe were realized on August 3, 2016 when the IOC voted to approve the addition of five new sports, including softball/baseball, to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The decision, which came after the IOC met in Rio de Janeiro, was made possible after the groundbreaking Olympic Agenda 2020, which provides flexibility for the future of the Olympic Movement to encourage innovation in the Olympic program.
In Tokyo at the 2020 Olympic Games, the U.S. Women’s National Team returned to the Olympic stage after a 13-year hiatus alongside Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Italy. The U.S. posted an undefeated 5-0 record through opening round, which included two walk-off wins over then-No. 8 Australia and then-No. 2 Japan. Advancing to its fifth-straight gold medal game, Team USA came up short with a 2-0 loss to Japan to bring home the Olympic silver medal.